Recipe by David Jones
“This is a dish we really enjoy at the Manna From Devon Cooking School as it ticks a lot of boxes for us. For a start, it’s Mediterranean and that suits our style of cooking but then it uses lamb and we have lots of great local lamb producers in South Devon. It works brilliantly cooked in our wood-fired ovens although it can be cooked perfectly well in a conventional oven.”
David Jones, Manna From Devon Cooking School.
For the Dough:
- flour – strong bread flour 300g
- wholemeal bread flour 100g
- instant yeast 4g
- salt 1 tsp (6g)
- water 250ml room temperature
For the Topping:
- minced lamb 250g
- onion 1 medium sized onion
- garlic 1 large clove
- red pepper 1
- carrot 1 medium sized
- tomato 1 large
- fresh parsley – handful
- ground cumin ½ tsp
- ground coriander ½ tsp
- sumac 1 heaped tsp (if you have it, if not add the zest of a lemon)
- chilli flakes ½ tsp (optional)
- Salt and pepper
For the Filling:
- Fresh parsley
- Plain yoghurt
- Finely sliced chilli
- Finely sliced red onion
- Put the flour in a bowl with the yeast then add the remaining dough ingredients. Bring together then knead for 10-15 minutes to create a strong and springy dough.
- Cover the bowl and leave to quietly ferment 4 hours.
- Place the onion, carrot, garlic, pepper, carrot and parsley in a food processor and pulse until it’s finely chopped. This will allow you to create a lump free paste to go on your lahmacun and will ensure the vegetables cook quickly.
- Drain excess juices from the vegetables either by pressing in a sieve or by wrapping in a clean tea towel and squeezing the juices out.
- Place the vegetables in a bowl with the lamb, spices and salt and pepper and mix well. Keep refrigerated until needed.
- Place a baking stone or thick metal baking sheet in your oven and pre-heat to 200°C (180°C fan-assisted)/400°F/gas mark 6)
- Divide the dough into 4 even pieces. Shape into rolls and (if you have time) cover and leave to relax for 30 minutes. Once well rested roll out to oval shapes about 2 millimetres thick.
- Divide the meat and vegetable mixture into four. Spread one portion of mixture on top of each pieces of dough pressing it in a little as you go.
- Bake each lahmacun for about 5 minutes. You want the tops to take a little colour and the bottoms to be firming up but not too crispy (remember you’re going to be rolling these up).
- When cooked, top each lahmacun with thinly sliced red onion, a generous handful of parsley, a little yoghurt, a good squeeze of lemon juice and sliced chillies to taste.
- Carefully roll each lahmacun around the filling and serve.
- Parents like the idea because it’s a good way of surreptitiously incorporating vegetables into a meal and, most importantly, it’s an eye opener as a way of using a pizza like flat bread. ‘What! Now you’re going to fill it and roll it up?’ is a common response. As a cooking school, we love getting people to think about things differently and this is one of those dishes that does it every time.
- The starting point is a traditional Turkish or Armenian recipe but I’m sure we stray quite far from the bounds of authenticity. Our dish varies every time we cook it depending on what’s available at the time and I like to think of the original as a wonderful inspiration rather something to be slavishly adhered to. Feel free to use this in the same way. However, the filling of lemon and parsley really brings it to life so don’t be tempted to skip that bit.